Free trade: ousting Boris Johnson would have no impact on negotiations

Free Trade: Boris Johnson’s ousting would have no impact on negotiations

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned from office on Thursday.

The Canadian government says the ousting of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson by his party does not; will have no impact on relations between London and Ottawa, in particular on the negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Global Affairs Canada and the Department for International Trade both signaled on Thursday that relations with the United Kingdom will remain strong and that the ousting of the British Prime Minister will not harm the negotiations of this free trade agreement. .

Ralph Goodale, Canada's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said political developments in London are certainly important, but he maintains that Canada has fundamental confidence in the strength and functioning of British democracy.

Our common priorities do not depend on personal considerations, he said.

“Key issues such as free trade negotiations, support for Ukraine, building closer security and intelligence partnerships and tackling climate change will continue to progress as planned.

— Ralph Goodale, High Commissioner for Canada to the United Kingdom

His remarks come at a time of major political upheaval in Westminster, which led to the ousting of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, after just three years in office.

In a statement outside 10 Downing Street on Thursday, Mr Johnson announced he was stepping down as Conservative Party leader and would step down as Prime Minister once his succession was secured. Conservative MPs demanded his departure and several ministers had even resigned from his cabinet.

But some also want Mr Johnson to step down as Prime Minister immediately.

Canada and the United Kingdom are negotiating a new bilateral trade agreement because trade agreements under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, no longer applied in the UK after Brexit.

In Ottawa on Thursday, Alice Hansen, a spokeswoman for International Trade Minister Mary Ng, said negotiations on the new trade deal will continue smoothly because Canada and the UK share a long history and close ties.

Mr. Johnson, who spearheaded the UK's exit from the European Union, has always been a strong supporter of closer ties with Canada, including on trade, since Brexit.

The two countries have signed a trade continuity agreement to keep most of the provisions of the European agreement in place, pending a new bilateral agreement. Formal negotiations began last March.

The United Kingdom is the third largest destination for Canadian exports, after the United States and China.

Sabrina Williams, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said Thursday that the UK is one of Canada's closest and most important allies. She said the two countries had a mutually beneficial relationship and a long tradition of close strategic partnership.

It is likely, however, that there is some degree of uncertainty in Ottawa over whether Britain's tough stance in favor of Ukraine, including the supply of military equipment, will continue with the same vigor amid political unrest in London.

Mr. Johnson has always been a staunch opponent of the invasion of Ukraine, working closely with Canada and other Western countries to impose sanctions on Moscow and counter Russia's disinformation campaigns. /p>

Under his leadership, the United Kingdom also supported increased Arctic security and surveillance to protect sovereignty over Canada's northern flank.

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